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Blue Jays sign Chris Coghlan to minor league deal

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The Blue Jays signed free agent Chris Coghlan to a minor league deal, the team announced on Saturday. The veteran infielder/outfielder will accept an assignment to Triple-A Buffalo to begin the season. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in February, but was released after taking issue with the team’s 45-day advance consent form.

Coghlan, 31, split his 2016 season between the Athletics and Cubs. He struggled in the first half of the year, batting .146/.215/.272 through 172 PA in Oakland, but rebounded in Chicago down the stretch, putting up a .252/.391/.388 batting line and contributing one hit during the Cubs’ postseason run.

Following the outfielder’s down year and a mediocre showing in camp, however, it seems unlikely that the Blue Jays have a starting role in mind for Coghlan. Still, he’s just two years removed from a 3.3 fWAR performance with the 2015 Cubs and has shown some versatility in both the infield and outfield, so a call-up to the majors doesn’t seem to be out of the question this season.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.